Freo's View

FUTURE OF EAST FREO’S ROYAL GEORGE IN DOUBT

 

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The future of the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street, East Fremantle is in jeopardy after the East Fremantle Council on Wednesday approved a scheme amendment that will only allow six storey buildings in the precinct, without discretionary additional height.

Saracen properties have proposed to refurbish the beautiful old building but to make that financially lucrative for the developers they wanted a 21-storey slim tower on the vacant site behind the hotel.

It is highly unlikely that Saracen will now continue with their proposal, but abandon it, which will severely bring into doubt the future of the Royal George, that has been vacant and derelict for far too many years.

It would be a real shame if a compromise can’t be found, but the new scheme amendment does not allow for much give and take.

Roel Loopers

ROYAL GEORGE HEIGHT A HUGE PROBLEM

 

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It will be an interesting Planning Committee session at the Town of East Fremantle tonight, with Council debating a Scheme Amendment for the historic Royal George Hotel site at Duke Street.

Saracen Properties have proposed a 21-storey building behind the heritage listed building, but that has received huge community criticism, as was to be expected.

There is not yet a planning proposal by Saracen at the Town of East Fremantle and the final decision authority is the WA JDAP, but the proposed Scheme Amendment to be discussed this evening is to only allow a seven-storey building that does not exceed 36 metres on the vacant part behind the former hotel.

Several public submissions even argued against a seven-storey building and want only 3-4 storeys behind the heritage building

Saracen made it clear during community consultation that they can’t spend millions of dollars on refurbishing the old Royal George unless they get considerable height allowance. A much lower building is not financially viable according to the proponents.

It is known that JDAP and SAT do overrule local government decisions, so even if Council tonight decide to approve the proposed Scheme Amendment Saracen might still put forward the 21-storey building at JDAP.

It would be an utter shame if nothing would happen again and if the Royal George remained a vacant and derelict eyesore for another ten years.

Roel Loopers

ROYAL GEORGE TOWER REVEALED

 

 

 

I received these artist’s impressions of the proposed new slim tower behind the Royal George hotel in East Fremantle from developers Saracen Properties.

The developers plan to fully renovate the beautiful heritage listed Royal George for tourist accommodation, a gin distillery, bar, restaurants, etc.

They also want to build a 15 storey elliptical spike set on a four storey podium along Duke Street, and create a community square between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

The architect for the project is highly-regarded Michael Patroni of the Fremantle spaceagency.

Roel Loopers

 

TALL DEVELOPMENT FOR ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

 

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The development proposal by Saracen Properties for the Royal George hotel site in East Fremantle is as exciting as it will be controversial.

The plans for the restoration of the gorgeous heritage building are great and would see the old building, that has been vacant for far too many years, be brought back to life and activation.

The entire building would be restored, including the massive and very high cellars below, that would house a gin distillery or winemaking facility.

On Thursday afternoon Joel Saracen took me on a tour inside the building while our great Freo architect Michael Patroni of the High Street Spaceagency explained his thinking behind the concept.

The Royal George would house a cafe, restaurant, bar, function and community meeting rooms and tourist accommodation, while they would also develop a new public realm between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

On the flip side all the expensive heritage restoration needs to be paid for and the proposal is for a 19 storey slim elliptical spike that is set back from a so called podium in Duke Street. It would house 40 large apartments. The building would have ‘fins’ to make it visually more attractive and would become an iconic landmark pointing to the Fremantle area.

The height along Duke Street would be similar to the height of the Brush Factorey and Royal George.

Parking for residents would be provided for inside the building with a car stacker, but does not include parking for the restaurant and bar patrons.

I know height is always going to be an issue in Fremantle, but I believe that a really well designed slim and very high building could be accommodated in that location. No doubt many locals will disagree with me.

There is a very nice brochure that explains most things but I am flabbergasted by the ‘clever’ PR of explaining why a taller building is better than a shorter and wider building, and showing the ugly shorter box, but not actually showing the proposed 19-storey slim tower. The cynical public will no doubt ask what the developers are trying to hide by not showing the tower.

The decision making authority will be the WA State Development Assessment Panel, not East Fremantle Council.

Roel Loopers

PS: I was promised on Thursday that the developers would email me some images, but still have not received any at 10 am on Saturday so just copied some from the brochure. I publish a daily blog not a quarterly magazine. :>)

 

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VISION FOR GREATER FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, town of east fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on April 26, 2017

 

East Fremantle Deputy Mayor Michael McPhail is Australia’s youngest Deputy Mayor. His impressive presentation at the Fremantle Network of the vision plan for the East Freo Leeuwing Barracks and foreshore showed why he was elected by his peers to the position.

A lot of water will flow under the bridges before the plans will be realised as the Defence Department owns the land and will have the final say after all, but at least the Town of East Fremantle is pro-actively involved in what must be one of the most significant development projects for the town and greater Fremantle.

McPhail said this was Fremantle’s day and Fremantle’s time and that the area is an emerging area for opportunity thanks to Fremantle Council, and it needs a regional big picture view.

He said the two major future visions for river foreshore development in the Perth metro area are the Leeuwin Barracks and the South Quay project, and he showed East Fremantle’s Port to Point Vision, all the way from Fremantle Port to Point Walter. It is about how we reconnect Fremantle to its foreshore McPail said.

He rightly pointed out that the South Quay project is a long way away still, while the Leeuwin development is imminent with land sales starting later this year, and said the East Street jetty area could be beautified by Fremantle Council before that.

Riverside Drive is old and needs to be realligned to accommodate the vision plans and the huge Leeuwin development that would see some 1,400 new residents moving into new apartment buildings, a new hotel, shops and large green open spaces for residents and the wider community to enjoy.

The vision showed two major 15-storey towers on the 14 hectare site plus 4-8 storey buildings spread among the large public spaces that will connect to river boardwalks.

It will require careful planning by the Town of East Fremantle and Mainroads to accommodate the additional vehicle movement along Preston Point Road and Riverside Drive as the majority of the new residents and visitors will be driving cars.

Michael McPhail is right that he sees this as a huge opportunity for Greater Fremantle and I believe it is essential for the two local councils and State Government to work together on a vision plan for the foreshore area from the Fremantle railway station all the way to Point Walter.

Roel Loopers

FINALLY ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, fremantle, heritage, town of east fremantle by freoview on February 19, 2016

After far too many years of being neglected and standing vacant the 1903 built Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle will finally be renovated and the parking site behind it developed.

Saracen Properties will initially lease the property from the National Trust but will be able to purchase it after rigorous heritage assessment of the proposed residential apartment building behind the heritage-listed building.

Th former hotel will be turned back to a pub and restaurant at ground level and short-stay accommodation at the upper level.

The question will be how many apartments and how many storeys Saracen want to build behind the old hotel, as this was very controversial at the burnt-out Guildford Hotel where State agencies overruled the local council there and allowed inappropriately high building behind the hotel. Hopefully Saracen want a more modest residential building that respects the heritage and streetscape.

We will have to keep a close eye on the proposed development, but at least something is happening with the hotel at the far end of charming George Street.

Roel Loopers

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WESTBRIDGE PROPERTIES LOOKING AT ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

Posted in fremantle, heritage, town of east fremantle by freoview on September 22, 2015
Heritage protection is a serious challenge and needs to be done with utmost care.

Heritage protection is a serious challenge and needs to be done with utmost care.

East Fremantle residents and heritage advocates have been worried about the demise of the old Royal George Hotel for many years, as there appears to be little action to remedy the decline and neglect of the building.

We now however have been informed that there is  a Working Group that includes State Heritage Office, the Town of East Fremantle and the National Trust to work with Westbridge Property Group towards a conditional purchase lease over the Royal George Hotel.

Westbridge is putting together a package of information that will be used to brief the Minister for Lands. The Working Group recently visited the site, local residents were told by the department.

The Westbridge Property Group combines Saracen Properties and Sirona Capital and the group is involved in the Quest Hotel development in Pakenham Street, Fremantle, Habitat Nth in North Perth, the Glass House in South Perth, Tenth&Beaufort in Inglewood, and properties in West Perth and Perth.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent. 

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162

OUTRAGEOUS HERITAGE DESTRUCTION IN EAST FREMANTLE

Posted in local government, town of east fremantle by freoview on July 24, 2015

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I am outraged to read in the Fremantle Herald today that the Town of East Fremantle allowed the heritage-listed former Lauder&Howard building to be destroyed to the point where only a part of the facade is kept to make way for development.

It is unbelievable that Council would have got such bad advise from its planning department and heads should roll over this disgraceful act of heritage vandalism. How ironic that the building was owned and occupied for many years by heritage stallward Les Lauder who started the Fremantle Society over 40 years ago to prevent the destruction of our heritage buildings.

The Herald quotes Councillor Cliff Collison saying “We probably did get it a bit wrong” No Cliff you did not get it “a bit wrong” but very very wrong! It is outrageous that you allowed for the historic1901 erected building to almost be demolished and East Fremantle Council and its planning staff should be ashamed of themselves!

Roel Loopers

FREO MAYOR ARGUES YES FOR AMALGAMATION

Posted in amalgamation, city of fremantle, local government, town of east fremantle by freoview on February 2, 2015

There has been quite a bit of misleading and factually wrong information going out to support the No vote against East Fremantle amalgamating with Fremantle, so let’s read what Freo’s Mayor Brad Pettitt has to say about it:

As of Monday morning 46.27% of East Fremantle residents have voted on the poll around amalgamation with Fremantle Council. To put this another way – just another 193 more people are required to vote by Saturday for the poll to be valid. As this vote steadily heads towards the 50% required I can’t help but wonder where this all might end up. Assuming it makes the 50% the odds would suggest many of those who voted did so to oppose the amalgamation and as a result the whole amalgamation will be off.
While I’d be disappointed after so much community time and effort has gone into getting a sensible merger plan up for a new greater Fremantle, I’ve ultimately got no problem with this result so long as people did vote with the correct information in front of them.
Unfortunately the ads in Fremantle Herald in recent weeks certainly aren’t providing that accurate information for East Fremantle voters. So this blog post aims to correct the record so people can vote with the facts in front of them.
Fremantle and East Fremantle councils have been working well together for many months to get an outcome that is good for both. I’ve been pleased with the level of collaboration.
Mayors (along with possibly the deputy mayors and an independent chair) as interim commissioners is the most sensible way of keeping a continuity of representation and decision making going. No conflict of interest that I can see given many of us were elected to 2017 anyway. But ultimately this is the Minister’s call not ours.
Fremantle Council’s finances are in a very strong position. You may have seen last week in The West that Fremantle’s cash reserves increased more than any other local government’s over the last few years. Our debt is smaller than this and Fremantle’s finances are strong by every empirical measure.
Fremantle has won a number of awards for it town planning (amongst other things) in recent years and this council has recently ushered in some major changes to our town planning scheme to kick off the revitalisation of the Fremantle CBD. It is pleasing to see these changes now gaining momentum on the ground.
The apparent quote from me “that the reason the Barnett Government wanted Fremantle to take over East Fremantle was because [Fremantle Council is] “pro-development”” is simply incorrect. I have publically said “At the heart of [Fremantle not been forced to merge with Melville] was demonstrating the Fremantle was committed to substantial population growth, economic investment and keeping Fremantle as Perth’s second city. The pro-development approach whilst controversial for some in the community was undoubtedly important to demonstrating to the local government advisory board and the State Government that Fremantle could be a sustainable local government area by itself into the future”. This is quite a different and it is been missed used in this context.
As for the silly idea that Fremantle Council can’t wait to build “massive high-rise development” on East Fremantle oval or View Terrace or Leeuwin Barracks. Again this is just wrong and just plain old scaremongering. Fremantle Council have always said we respect the existing East Fremantle town planning scheme.
Finally, all I’d say to East Fremantle residents is: it is entirely up to you as to how you vote and I have no desire to influence this important decision other than to say please don’t take what is written in these ads as accurate. Instead, dig a little deeper and see what both options might mean for you going forward. Here is some Freo info that might also help: http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/cityoffremantle/Local_government_reform

Brad Pettitt

FREO AMALGAMATION IS NOT HOSTILE TAKEOVER

Posted in city of fremantle, local governmet, town of east fremantle by freoview on January 31, 2015

East Fremantle residents are voting in high numbers in the Dadour Act which will determine if the Town of East Fremantle will amalgamate with the City of Fremantle.

Some people have been spending a lot of money on full-page advertisements in community newspapers to promote a NO vote against an amalgamation, and some Fremantle Elected Members claim that untrue and non-factual statements have been made in these ads. The City of Fremantle has deliberately stayed out of the debate and not try to influence the vote, or even set straight some of the facts.

 The proposed amalgamation between our two communities in not a hostile take-over bid by the City of Fremantle. I believe it is common sense to amalgamate and make us into a bigger city, and I personally have never seen East Freo as anything less than being a part of Freo.

The arguments I hear against the COF council and the administration might well be true but they are also totally irrelevant, as there will be a whole new Council for the amalgamated Fremantle. There will also be a huge shake-up in the administration because an amalgamation would mean duplication of staff, directors and CEO. So many of the present Councillors will not be on the new greater City of Fremantle council and a high number of staff will also have to find jobs elsewhere.

The fear that East Fremantle would get a less efficient administration is as unfounded as the fear is that sitting Fremantle Councillors would continue. There will no doubt be new candidates like Mark Woodcock and Matthew Hansen and many sitting East Fremantle Councillors might also want to join the new council, so new brooms will sweep through Townhall at every level

I get parochialism, but sometimes it stops progress because of fear of change. I believe that is happening at East Freo. A larger and progressive Fremantle will have more cloud, more money, and more opportunity to implement change, attract developers and move forward in cohesion and collaboration. To oppose the amalgamation is in my opinion short sighted and has a bit of a NIMBY attitude.

I urge East Fremantle voters to vote YES and embrace the amalgamation and modernisation of our communities together!

Roel Loopers

P.S. Stay tuned for a public forum-probably in March-on what candidates the community would like to have for the next Council election.

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